Fiat Coupe Club UK

Domestic AV recommendations?

Posted By: barnacle

Domestic AV recommendations? - 25/04/2021 18:49

The sound system I used in the UK is no longer convenient, due to the TV-over-IP unit having no audio output other than that on the HDMI signal, and my amplifier being old school stereo using baseband audio. At the moment I am taking audio from a headphone output socket on the TV which is less than ideal.

I have the following video/audio sources, all with HDMI outputs:
  • IP TV 'receiver'
  • Humax DTT receiver (kept for the material recorded over the years) which also has analogue audio
  • DVD/CD player which also has analogue audio
  • a selection of computers, all of which have HDMI but also analogue outputs on headphone jacks


Two approaches come to mind - either an HDMI switcher with an audio separator which can drive the amplifier directly, or an amplifier which incorporates at least four HDMI inputs and is capable of selecting any one to both the TV via HDMI and driving *stereo* loudspeakers (not 5.1 or 7.1 bollocks thank you. I spent too long as an audio studio designer).

A potential nice-to-have may be an adjustable audio delay so that the layers of switches don't bugger up the synchronisation - an issue I have had previously.

I have located a couple of HDMI switchers; they're not expensive, but the reviews seem to suggest that they're also not particularly reliable. And to be honest, I'm not even sure what to search for for the amp - AV amp perhaps? I dunno. I do, though, want something which works *without* connection to the interwebs.

Any suggestions/advice gratefully accepted, thanks!

Neil (do you want a Dolby with that, Granddad?)
Posted By: Jim_Clennell

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 25/04/2021 19:57

I'll get me coat...
Posted By: DaveG

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 25/04/2021 20:24

I bought an Onkyo AV amp well over 12 years ago, it has 4 x HDMI inputs as well as digital audio and analogue inputs, I use it to output to 5.1 speakers (ahem) but bought the two main speakers on account of their sound when playing good old fashioned stereo, plus looks (they are rather large , so need to look good too). Is there a German equivalent if Richer Sounds or Sevenoak HiFi you can go and visit?
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 25/04/2021 21:18

Originally Posted by Jim_Clennell
I'll get me coat...

To be fair - I did professional audio - at an order of magnitude or two more than I would ever spend at home. I never had much of a clue about domestic audio, apart from a few hours in a shop in the nineties where I upset the sales assailant by insisting on testing quite a lot of amplifiers with quite a lot of speakers - and discovering that he had no idea... he couldn't hear a phase error, and more particularly he couldn't heat that one of the amps he was trying to sell me was clipping the power rails...

I've still got that amp - a Pioneer A300 - and the speakers - Wharfedales. Both have performed sterling service.

@DaveG - I don't know, I'm still looking for von Richter sounds, but not come across them yet. Visiting isn't going to happen any time soon, courtesy covid.
Posted By: Rosso

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 26/04/2021 15:51

Neil,

We have a Pioneer vsx922 AV amp which has 1x hdmi out and 5x hdmi input. Internet radio, media server, usb socket, ipod socket. Infact there's a tonne of features which would take too long to list.

We have it hooked up to a projector as our main living room viewing with a good old pair of Tannoy speakers and freeview/bluray/ HD all in one. And stream to it with firestick from pc upstairs.

This likely will have been superceded by now as these things go.
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 26/04/2021 19:50

Superseded means I might find a second hand one... I'm very fond of my ancient Pioneer A300, which is doing very well apart from an increasing amount of noise on the rotary level controls.

Though I'm seriously considering this as a stopgap, to see how things go: https://www.amazon.de/-/en/dp/B07F7...9Q21V&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it - effectively it's doing what the TV is doing now, but without the unpleasant 3.5mm jack. Wouldn't it be nice if all 3.5mm stereo jack plugs match all 3.5mm stereo sockets?

Neil
Posted By: Gunzi

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 26/04/2021 20:21

Neil, I read Darko Audio and he has assorted bits of hi fi equipment such a a DAC or a streamer, made from raspberry pi's. Can you knock up an HDMI switch?
Posted By: Rosso

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 26/04/2021 20:58

Originally Posted by barnacle
Superseded means I might find a second hand one... I'm very fond of my ancient Pioneer A300, which is doing very well apart from an increasing amount of noise on the rotary level controls.

Though I'm seriously considering this as a stopgap, to see how things go: https://www.amazon.de/-/en/dp/B07F7...9Q21V&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it - effectively it's doing what the TV is doing now, but without the unpleasant 3.5mm jack. Wouldn't it be nice if all 3.5mm stereo jack plugs match all 3.5mm stereo sockets?

Neil


Indeed my Pioneer VSX922 that I bought last year is 2nd hand and it replaced a 25 year old Aiwa AV (pre HDMI or anything like that) amp that decided it wasn't switching on anymore. The Tannoy's are still going strong... I love them. Certainly worth reading up on the VSX922 or others from that range.

I was using this Neoteck HDMI Audio Extractor with the Aiwa packed in but does only have hdmi in and out.

Not sure some of the jacks have made it through quality control.
Posted By: Begbie

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 27/04/2021 08:23

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0743BXWBP/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

I had this, when I was running an amp without any HDMI, but had multiple HDMI sources into a projector and running the audio through the 3.5mm jack. Not sure if this of any use, but can sell / post it to you for a nominal fee smile
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 27/04/2021 17:23

Appreciate the offer, Alexis, but shipping stuff from the UK to Germany at the moment is such a nightmare, probably better not to try. But it looks a similar box (I bet it's the same chipset) - just that 3.5mm jack output frown
Posted By: avtokrator

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 28/04/2021 00:02

So, stereo wise only, there are hdmi extractors, which give you rca-audio out. Then, there are toslink to rca adapters...Similar Bluetooth thingy available too. All pretty cheap. Then you can use the regular inputs of the amp.
Then there are the multichannel options, I personally prefer Marantz, which, even designed for home cinema outperform many purely stereo amps in terms of sound quality.
I'm in the diy process of converting old (and very dead) Technics cassette deck to just this - vintage looking, multi input stereo amp smile

The toslink mention came in mind because, as far as I know, all TV sets now have the optic output for sound bar, home cinema, etc..
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 28/04/2021 17:31

Yes, I considered the optical tos-link - everything has that as an output except the computers, but then it needs a tos-link switch (and of course a copy-bit stripper! Not that I want to record anything, but I hate being told I can't...)

Oh, wait, I can use the tos-link out of the TV and route everything through the TV. Hmmm...
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 19/05/2021 06:27

I fitted the splitter from Amazon mentioned above, and so far it's been flawless. The sound is somewhat better than that via the TV analogue output (presumably limitations in the TV's DAC or output drive) and infinitely better than the rubbish TV speakers... I wish they'd stop pretending that they sound good smile

Curiously though - live TV, recorded output from the Humax, and DVD from the player are all at the same level, but CD from the same player is perhaps 10dB louder on the few CDs I've checked so far. Perhaps they're just cranking up the volume on the CDs to use all the bits up...
Posted By: DaveG

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 19/05/2021 15:19

Play some old CDs, the very early ones seem to be at lower volume
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 20/05/2021 05:08

I wouldn't be surprised. When I was doing that sort of thing, the rule of thumb was 12db headroom, 11dB quantisation noise, giving 73dB signal to noise ratio... but of course the s/n gets worse as the signal level drop. So crank up the volume, why not - pre-processing to make sure any peaks get compressed (and incidentally bugger the sound, but, hey, as long as it's loud!)

Certainly you see the dynamic range completely crushed on 'pop' style CDs, but I don't expect it on e.g. Deutsche Gramafon classical recordings.

But the explanation fits the observed facts: A DVD needs more headroom so Holywood can have its loud explosions, or to cover up the actor's mumbling with unnecessarily loud music...
Posted By: MarioCirillo

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 20/05/2021 16:53

This is what i have
Its expensive but worth every penny - superb and does all my IR over CAT as well has HDMI i just keep everything away in a comms cab and can control whatever from whereever and use alexa also to do some voice commands such as Play CCTV in the Livingroom or Show DVD in the Family Room

https://hdanywhere.com/products/matrix/pages/mhubu43140
Posted By: Gripped

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 21/05/2021 11:46

I've got a basic Sony AV Amp which runs a 5.1 system but can be selected to 2 channel stereo.

amp

All the peripherals are plugged in via hdmi so the amp can select each input as needed.

Works well and sound is solid even with my cheap KEF set up.


Attached picture IMG_20210521_124227.jpg
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 23/05/2021 06:41

Bloody hell, I just had a quick look for a pair of LS3/5A loudspeakers shocked up to four thousand quid a pair being asked!

Now I'm looking for something else laugh
Posted By: MeanRedSpider

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 23/05/2021 15:53

Canít imagine any of our hearing is good enough for a good HiFi system these days wink

Playing in a rock band, shooting, working in a steel mill, two perforated ear drums from sport, and DIY - I very much doubt mine is laugh
Posted By: DaveG

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 23/05/2021 16:34

Pardon?
Posted By: barnacle

Re: Domestic AV recommendations? - 23/05/2021 19:28

I had the great good fortune of requiring yearly hearing and vision checks because of the BBC job. I know my high frequency response is no longer as good as it was - turns out that sitting in front of racks of tv monitors for years is very good at killing 15kHz and up frown - but Anita comments that playing the TV through a decent amp and speakers, and avoiding the reprocessing crap of 5.1 and the like - not only sounds better but enables her to hear the programmes more clearly (she has minor hearing loss and tinnitus).

Me, I spent so long in an environment where good quality sound was compulsory (including designing and building radio studios) that hearing the crap that passes for 'good sound' these days can be physically painful.

(But I still think that between 95 and 99.99% of what is spoken and written about 'hifi' is complete and utter bollocks laugh )
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